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‘A DISASTER FOR THE ACCESSIBILITY OF THE CITY: Lord Holmes calls for reinstatement of Black Cabs at Bank Junction


Image credit: MEMBERS PARLIAMENT UK— ATTRIBUTION 3.0 UNPORTED (CC BY 3.0)

Lord Holmes of Richmond MBE has highlighted a critical issue in the City of London, focusing on the continued ban of black cabs from Bank Junction, a decision he describes as a significant barrier to accessibility.


In his comments to TaxiPoint, Lord Holmes pointed out that despite black cabs' exemplary safety record at Bank Junction, they were banned in 2017. He criticised this decision for severely affecting the accessibility of the City, especially for those who rely on taxis as an essential mobility aid, including disabled individuals, the elderly, and pregnant women.

In a City report to the City's Planning and Transportation committee it recommends maintaining this ban. However, Lord Holmes noted that the report itself acknowledges the negative impact on specific groups who depend heavily on taxis.


Furthermore, the review highlights potential economic and reputational damage to the City if the ban continues, affecting business and tourism. Lord Holmes questioned the rationale behind a policy that blocks black cabs, especially when they are recognised as vital for mobility.


Lord Holmes of Richmond MBE said: “Despite never having been involved in an accident at Bank Junction, in 2017, black cabs were banned. This was not just more than an inconvenience for drivers, it was a disaster for the accessibility of the City.

“Let’s put it plainly, what is the logic for banning, on safety grounds (!), black cabs who have never caused safety concerns at this intersection?

 

“We are now approaching a critical point with this issue as a report is heading to the Planning and Transportation committee of the City recommending that the black cab ban remains. 

 

“This is more than unfortunate, not least as the report concedes that ‘Concerns remain for specific groups, notably disabled individuals, older people with mobility impairments, and pregnant women, who rely heavily on taxis as a crucial mobility aid.’

 

“The review also highlighted the economic and reputational concerns for the City that may arise for continuing the ban, not least to business and tourism. How can anyone feel positive about access, inclusion and openness if one of the major intersections in the City remains barred to black cabs, by the review’s own admission, ‘crucial mobility aids’   

 

“The review offers two options to the committee, pushing heavily for the first, which is to remain as it is. Option two however would allow taxis at all times under an experimental traffic order while keeping other restrictions intact. The review argues a lack of compelling evidence that allowing taxis would significantly improve equality issues.

 

“Local business’ want black cabs back, so do Wards of the City and all those who are involved with access and inclusion.

 

“I urge the Planning and Transportation committee to agree to a pilot period, let the black cabs back and monitor the scheme for a prescribed time.

 

“I will be writing to the committee chair and Lord Mayor to this effect and I ask every reader, everyone who believes in access and inclusion, everyone who believes in our great taxi trade, everyone who believes in our City to do the same.

 

“Together, let’s get the black cabs back, from the rank through the Bank.”

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